Why not a career in biotechnology

Published February 10, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Dhel Nazario

Local experts urged Filipino students to consider biotechnology as an exciting and promising career and make an impact in the justice system and healthcare.

In a recent forum at the Philippine Science High School, Dr. Maria Corazon A. De Ungria, head of the DNA Analysis Lab at the Natural Sciences Research Institute, said that biotechnology occupies a crucial yet underrated role in aiding the Philippine justice system.

She explained that the proper use of techniques like DNA testing led to the release of wrongfully convicted individuals in criminal cases, as well as the precise identification of victims ravaged by calamities and fatal tragedies.

In the context of rampant cases of alleged extra-judicial killings, she asserted the need for the implementation of more reliable forensic techniques to protect the citizenry from possible abuse by the authorities.

“We need powerful tools more than ever to fight back against abuses by those who enforce the law,” Ungria said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Edsel Maurice T. Salvaña, Director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, showcased in his presentation the ability of the latest medications like the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy to practically restore the lifespan of HIV patients.

He deemed such development as a welcome one amid the steep rise in new HIV cases nationwide – from one every three days in 2000 to 30 per day in 2017 – caused by the spread of a novel hyper-aggressive viral strain (CRF01-AE) from Southeast Asia.